Valentine’s Day Alternatives?

chocolate heart

By Michele Lum, Healthy Aggies Intern, UC Davis

It’s that time of the year again, where loved ones show their appreciation toward each other by enjoying a romantic dinner together or exchanging sweets. Sweets can have a negative impact on your health, so does that mean you shouldn’t eat any on this special day? Absolutely not. Although it is recommended to avoid consuming too many sweets on a daily basis, it is okay to treat yourself once in a while. At the same time, it’s good to keep some alternatives in mind. Here are 5 easy ways you can make your Valentine’s Day healthier and more meaningful.

 

  • Opt for Dark Chocolate

 

Dark chocolate has a lot of health benefits! Quality dark chocolate, which are those with a high percentage of cocoa, has less sugar and can be pretty nutritious. It contains fiber, iron, magnesium, and a lot more. It is also a good source of antioxidants, which help decrease inflammation in our body. Short term inflammation can lead to acne and long-term inflammation can lead to chronic diseases. If dark chocolate is too bitter for you, milk chocolate isn’t the worst option. Just be aware that it contains less nutrients and has more added sugars and creams. Going off of that, white chocolate contains no cocoa solids meaning it has none of the nutrients that dark and milk chocolate do, and is loaded with sugar and cream, making it the least healthy of the three.

2)    Chocolates that Pack a Healthier Punch

Chocolate covered fruit is another way to go. You can buy a box of strawberries or blueberries and dip them into melted chocolate; this way you can receive the nutritional values of the fruits while enjoying the harmony of flavors. If you don’t have enough time to buy fruits and melt chocolate, there’s always the option to buy fruit/nut coated chocolate.

3)    Buy Other Kinds Valentine’s Gifts

Rather than buying chocolate for your Valentine, maybe opt for a stuffed animal or roses. The stuffed animal can keep your partner company while you are out. It has also been said that plushies are able to help with anxiety and depression. The roses can spread their fragrant scent around the house and are also very appealing to the eye.

4)    Cook a Healthy Meal Together

What better way to spend time with your loved one than to cook together? It would be more economical than going out to a fancy restaurant and it could be healthier too. A lot of time for adults or college students, different things like work and school can get in the way of seeing your significant other. Spending those few hours together to cook would be a great and fun way to catch up. It will also help you learn about each other’s food preferences and different skills in the kitchen. Want to make the meal more romantic? You can set some flowers on the table, light some candles, and maybe play some Italian music.

5)    Go on a walk or hike together

Conveniently, this year’s winter in Davis is a lot warmer than usual. You should take advantage of that, grab a water bottle, put on a pair of sneakers and head out to enjoy nature’s beauty alongside your beauty. Maybe you can stroll around the arboretum or even downtown. It would be a cute way to work off some of the calories gained from the sweets or your romantic meal ; it is also the perfect time to spend time talking to each other.

Keeping these tips in mind can help enhance your Valentine’s Day experience and make it more meaningful. If you’re a late planner these tips don’t seem feasible for you, then it is perfectly fine to go out and purchase sweets for your loved ones, just remember that everything is safe in moderation.

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